How to Make Instagram Worthy Hot Cocoa

In this day, nothing is worth doing unless it makes a cute picture, so if you’re going to enjoy a hot cup of cocoa after a day in the snow, you better make it look good. Plus, nothing fits better in a winter feed that a drool-worthy hot chocolate.

Gather Your Goods

You’ll need a mug, milk, and a cocoa mix (or a good chocolate). Plus, you’ll want those delightful toppings like whipped cream, chocolate chips, marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes, or anything else you’d like to style in.

Before you start making a mess, make sure you’ve got everything you want because otherwise you’ll be partway in and realize that someone ate your marshmallow and the shot is ruined.

Set the Shot

If you’re wanting to get a specific shot, set it up before you have piping hot beverages being carted around. Use an empty mug even as a fill in and figure out which angle is most important to get (top down or straight on will be a big decision considering styling this puppy). If there’s only one specific shot you want, set up a tripod using your empty mug to plan exactly what the shot is like. Otherwise, just be prepared to experiment in the moment.

Scatter any accents you want now and plot where your elements will sit. Consider the back drop. Some string lights blurred in the background of a shallow focal depth will create a cozy bokeh, layered blankets will add texture for a top down look, or a smooth backdrop will look more streamlined and professional.

If you’re planning to hold the mug, check that manicure and paint the fingers that will be in shot!

Make the Cocoa

Just because it’s the easiest step doesn’t mean it’s not important! Heat that milk, mix in that cocoa, and make a hot frothy cup!

Jump to it!

For a top down shot, style from that view and vice versa. If you’re wanting a top down into your mug, style it flat and consider using a stencil to creating a cute shape. Otherwise, if you’re shooting straight on, think about what will show over the lip of the mug (like a tower of whipped cream sprinkled with cocoa).

Style it some and then take some shots. Then, adjust based on how they look. If your stencil looks crazy, then adjust and cover it up with whipped cream! Put a tiny sprinkle of something to pop out from the white like chocolate chips or cinnamon. Just have fun with it!

If you’re mid-shoot and stumped, try moving your body. Get further away or close to the mug. Try above, from below, straight on. The worst thing if you’re not getting the shot you want is to sit still and just keep shooting. You’ve got to adjust.

Enjoy it

Once you’ve got the shot, sit back and sip that cocoa (which has got to be cooled down by now!) and write up your clever caption: There’s snow thing like a hot chocolate after sledding.